- August 24, 2021
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You’re leaving our country empty: Taliban forces caution US against evacuating skilled Afghans
Taliban spokesman says the country ‘needs their expertise’ and Afghans should not be encouraged to leave.
The Taliban on Tuesday urged skilled Afghans not to flee the country, as the new rulers of Afghanistan warned the United States and its NATO allies they would not accept an extension to a looming evacuation deadline – even as Western countries said time was running out.
A spokesman for the group told America to stop taking “Afghan experts” such as engineers and doctors out of the country.
About 16,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, according to the Pentagon, as US troops lead an increasingly desperate effort to airlift thousands more before the Taliban’s “red line” for Western forces to leave the country.
US President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to extend an August 31 deadline to pull out American forces, with Britain expected to lobby for that at a virtual G7 summit on Tuesday.
Moscow to request flights for Afghan students permitted to study in the Russian -embassy.
The Russian government will request flights out of Afghanistan in September for Afghan students who are planning to study in Russia, the embassy said in a statement.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan could stop hundreds of Afghans from taking up university places in Russia or continuing with classes that have moved online during the coronavirus pandemic, students said last week.
G-7 leaders raised concerns about Afghan pullout
European Council President Charles Michel says a number of G-7 leaders raised concerns with U.S. President Joe Biden about the Aug. 31 deadline for getting their nationals and Afghan helpers out of Kabul.
Michel says that “several leaders expressed concerns about the timing of August 31,” during Tuesday’s G-7 summit.
He declined to tell reporters after the meeting what response Biden gave the leaders.
According to an administration official, Biden plans to stick with his deadline for completing the US-led evacuation from Afghanistan, AP news agency reported.
Afghan troops helping US at airport also will be evacuated: Pentagon
The US military will evacuate between 500 and 600 Afghan commandos and army soldiers who have been helping US forces at the airport in Kabul, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
“Any of them that want to leave, and we have to assume that that’s all of them, they will be evacuated,” Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon media briefing.
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of five to six hundred we know Afghan forces are there at the at the airport with us, and actually helping us in the security mission, and they will all be able to come out” when US forces plan to leave at the end of August, Kirby said.
No extension to Aug 31 Kabul evacuation deadline at G7 talks: Merkel
Talks between leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Afghanistan did not lead to an extension of the August 31 deadline for evacuations from Kabul, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“The conference has not resulted in new dates (on the end of the evacuation mission),” Merkel told reporters after the virtual meeting of leaders.
She added that there were intensive discussions on whether a civilian-operated airport could be used after that deadline and that Germany was ready to work with countries neighboring Afghanistan, such as Pakistan and Iran, to help refugees.
Biden to stick to August 31 Afghanistan pullout deadline: US media
US President Joe Biden has decided to stick to his August 31 deadline to pull American forces out of Afghanistan, US media reported Tuesday.
Biden made the decision after talks with G7 counterparts and a demand by the Taliban that the United States not extend its stay past the end of this month, CNN, Fox News and other media reported, citing senior US officials.